Archive for October, 2009
The easy single-handed operation of the iPhone is not one of its obvious selling points but is one of those little features that grows on you and becomes nearly indispensable.
I am in total agreement.
UPDATE: Profile creation is no longer in beta! Grab all available profiles here.
“Do you have an EyeTV profile?”
We get asked this question a lot. And until recently, we didn’t have a good answer. But thanks to Chris Hulett, HippoRemote now has EyeTV support! Chris has already churned out a few revisions, each better than the last.
To be able to install Chris’ latest EyeTV profile, you have to be part of our profile creation beta. If you aren’t, don’t worry. It’s open to all HippoRemote users. Just send us an email and you’re in!
UPDATE: Profile creation is no longer in beta! Grab all available profiles here.
Ever since it crossed my radar a couple weeks ago, I have been addicted to Canabalt. Love the visuals, love the music, love the simplicity, love the gameplay. Love it all.
So as a thank you to all of you partaking in our profile creation beta, here’s a Canabalt profile! Now you can Canabalt away from the comfort of your couch. And though we generally recommend one-thumb HippoRemote operation, for this game, the boost in reflexes from using your index finger is pretty essential.
And be sure to support the Canabalt developers and buy the iPhone version (App Store Link). Just $3 for endless hours of fun.
P.S. If you’d like to join in on the profile creation beta, just send us an email.
Another tip for Mac users today. If you want to run Mac OS X’s built-in Screen Sharing and HippoVNC’s system server simultaneously, the default settings may cause them to conflict with each other. However, a simple change can allow the two to coexist nicely.
Launch HippoVNC, go to the preferences, and click on the System Server tab. Change the display name to something other than the name you’ve assigned to your Mac. Also, change the display number from Auto to a non-zero number (5, for example). Restart the system server to apply the changes. You may also need to disable and re-enable Screen Sharing via the System Preferences as well.
Now when you launch HippoRemote, you should see two entries in the Detected Servers – one for Screen Sharing, and one for HippoVNC – making it easy to pick the one you want to use.
Our last tip talked about automatic app switching on Macs. Today, it’s Windows’ turn.
From our download logs, it looks like many (if not most) Windows folks are using HippoVNC and not some other flavor of VNC. Great! We hope you are enjoying the convenience of auto app switching!
For those Windows users using the hotkey app launching approach (or no app launching at all!), I highly recommend giving HippoVNC a try. With the hotkey launcher, switching to an app that’s already running will open a new window. This can be a bit annoying.
HippoVNC does the right thing. When you select a profile, it will launch that program if it’s not running, or switch you to an existing window if the program is running. Super convenient for switching back and forth between iTunes and Firefox, for example.
We’ve identified a bug where HippoRemote fails to detect it’s connected to a Mac. This occurs when you’re using HippoVNC with no password. A fix is forthcoming, but for now, the workaround is to be sure to enable password authentication. This is also just a good security practice.
To assign a password, launch HippoVNC, go to its preferences, click on the Connection tab, check the button next to VNC Password, and enter a password in the password field. Be sure to restart the server when you’re done.
If you’re running HippoVNC as a system server, in the preferences, click on the System Server tab, check the button next to VNC Password, and enter a password in the password field. Here as well, be sure to restart the system server to force it to apply your changes.
Today’s tip (like our earlier tip on international keyboards) requires you to run HippoVNC on your Mac.
Judging from our web site traffic, most Mac users have opted to go with OS X’s built-in Screen Sharing functionality. We totally understand this. Personally, I’m incredibly hesitant to install new software, especially software from a small, unknown company that wants to run in the background.
Furthermore, HippoRemote already has an App Launching setting that let’s you use Spotlight (or Quicksilver or LauchBar) to start and switch apps. So how is this new option any better? Here’s how.
Let’s say you are using HippoRemote to control iTunes. You fire up a playlist. Then you decide to jump over into your photo library. Since HippoRemote doesn’t have an iPhoto profile, you mouse over to the Dock and launch iPhoto manually. Now you want to replay that last song. And here’s the problem. The active program on your Mac is iPhoto, but the active profile in HippoRemote is iTunes.
So what can you do? On the Mac, you can use the trackpad to shuffle windows around and bring iTunes to the front. On HippoRemote, you can switch to a different profile, and then use the hotkey launcher to switch back to iTunes. Either option is rather inconvenient.
With Auto App Switching via HippoVNC, you don’t have to do any extra work. Just hit the previous song button on the music pad. HippoVNC will automatically bring iTunes to the front and replay the last song. Let me say that again. Even though iTunes may be buried under a mountain of other windows, HippoVNC will automatically bring it to the front and then apply the replay song action.
This works with all the Mac profiles – DVD Player, Firefox, Keynote, Safari – not just iTunes. It’s incredibly convenient. If HippoRemote has found a home on your iPhone/iPod, give HippoVNC a try. It’s entirely free. And it’s open source, so you don’t have to worry about us doing something sneaky behind your back.
Not sure if it would increase risk of repetitive stress injuries, but it would certainly make precision mousing easier. [Link]
Yesterday, we showed you how to use your Mac to create a wireless network. On Windows, it’s pretty much the same, though you have to dig a bit more into your network configuration.
Here are links on how to create an ad hoc network for XP and Vista:
Instructions for Windows 7 are basically the same as for Vista. However, it looks like the Public Beta and the RC both have driver bugs that prevent ad hoc networks from working right. Hopefully these bugs have been fixed in the soon-to-be-released final version.
Sometimes, there’s just no WiFi network available. Does this mean no HippoRemote? Not always. If your Mac has an AirPort card (and virtually every Mac does), instead of using it to connect to a WiFi network, you can use it to create your own wireless network! Tell your iPhone or iPod Touch to join your new network and HippoRemote will work as always.
Here’s a link to an Apple support article on how to create your own wireless network:
If you haven’t done so already, you’ll also need to go through HippoRemote’s setup.
Lastly, go into your iPhone’s WiFi settings and join your new network. Fire up HippoRemote and your Mac should be automatically detected!
Most of the other remote apps you can find in the App Store use a split-screen style interface to show both the trackpad and the keyboard simultaneously. This is helpful for doing combo commands, like shift clicks or control clicks. But ultimately, keyboard usability suffers. You generally only get a fleeting look at the text you type. And you can’t get features like Keyboard History or take advantage of the iPhone’s autocorrection like you can with HippoRemote.
But if you need to, how do you do a shift click in HippoRemote? The short answer is to switch to the Mac OS X or Windows XP/Vista/7 profile. We’ve put assigned some of the trackpad’s shortcut buttons to these keyboard+mouse combos.
You can also create these actions as Macros and have them available in other profiles as well. Here’s the macro for a shift click:
Yes, that’s it. Use MOUSE_2 for a right click. Or just hit the Help button when creating a Macro for more information.
Update: This bug has been fixed with HippoRemote 1.2.1 and HippoVNC 0.2.2.
If you’re on a dual monitor Windows machine, running HippoRemote 1.2 with HippoVNC 0.2.0, you may have encountered a bug where the trackpad becomes unresponsive. We’ve identified and fixed this bug, but unfortunately, the complete fix requires changes to both HippoVNC and HippoRemote.
HippoVNC 0.2.2 is already up on our web site. And an updated HippoRemote has been submitted to Apple. With any luck, they’ll approve it quickly.
In the meantime, there is a workaround! In your Windows screen settings, simply change which screen is the main display and that should resolve the trackpad issues.
We apologize for not catching this bug sooner. Hopefully it hasn’t caused any of you too much frustration.
Yesterday, we posted a link on how to use HippoRemote for Chinese text input. Today, we just want to reiterate that you can do the same all the international keyboards supported by the iPhone, not just Chinese.
There are 3 important steps for full international keyboard support:
In HippoRemote’s settings, enable the Send Unicode option. This is particularly important for non-Roman languages.
Also in HippoRemote’s settings, disable Live Typing. This stops HippoRemote from sending each character as you enter it. Instead, it buffers all the text and sends in one big chunk each time you hit return. This step isn’t absolutely necessary for all languages, but it is important for languages – like Chinese – where the iPhone does a lot of prediction and substitution of text.
Today’s tip comes from Andy Lee, who combines the iPhone’s Chinese handwriting recognition with HippoRemote to make a really handy tool for entering Chinese text on your computer.
I’ll let you read Andy’s blog post for all the details. He’s connecting HippoRemote to a Mac, but this works with PCs as well.